As sentinels of a river's health, Minnesota's native freshwater mussels provide us with an important measure of our society's impacts on rivers. Ignoring our mussel resources could aid not only in their demise, but the continued decline of river health. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has initiated a statewide mussel survey project. The information gained about the distribution and abundance of our mussel resources will be used to protect remaining areas where mussels and the water resources that sustain them are healthy, and to target areas where conditions indicate that improvements are needed. By conserving mussel habitats, we can at the same time maintain the health of the lakes and rivers that are an integral part of Minnesota's quality of life.
No live mussels may be collected in Minnesota. If you pick up a live mussel, return it to the water immediately. Currently, with a fishing license, a person may possess up to 24 whole or 48 half shells of dead mussels. However, it is illegal to collect state listed species. Since many common species look like listed species, and even experts can sometimes confuse them, it is best to leave mussels where you find them.